October 28, 2011

5 Quick Tips for Photographing People Outdoors With the Camera You Have

So, let me guess...

Your pictures of your friends, parents, children or grandchildren don't always come out the way you like, and you are frequently frustrated by the harsh ugly shadows on their faces when you photograph them outdoors... but you want them to look as good as they can and are, because you care about them. (or you wouldn't be taking their picture, right?)

So here are 5 easy tips for improving the pictures you take with almost any camera.

1) FIND SHADE!!! (or wait until a cloud covers the sun) Direct sunlight is directional and harsh. If you want to avoid harsh shadows on peoples faces, find shade to place your subject in. shade gives you diffused (non directional) pleasant light instead of harsh directional light. I know this is contrary to what you think, but trust me... It helps!

2) Use your flash. Your camera will automatically turn the flash off when it is in auto mode in a bright environment. If you override this, and turn on your flash, it will fill in shadows created by the sun, and brighten up the subject without effecting the background much. (This is usually accomplished by pushing a button with an emblem like a lightning bolt, and selection the option that looks the same.)

3) Use a reflector. You can buy reflectors specifically for photography, but you can also use reflectors for car windshields, or a piece of white mat board. Position the reflector so it shines/reflects light onto the subjects pace on the shadow side. It will fill in the shadows and even out the light for you.

4) Position the subject with their back turned almost straight towards the sun, and use your flash to illuminate the subject. The sun will shine through their hair, creating an angelic beauty look. And the flash will illuminate the person's face pleasantly, and the ambient light will even the shadows for you. This will also avoid the squinty look from having the people staring into the sun. Please note that you may need to use your hand or hat to shade the lens, so sunlight does not shine directly into the lens and create lens flare.

5) If you are photographing children, make sure your shutter speed; (how fast the camera takes the photo, and represented as fractions of a second); is at least 1/125th of a second, and preferably 1/250th or faster. This will keep them from blurring as they squirm! Putting your camera into action mode will usually achieve this.

And Lastly, keep smiling and tell some jokes if it takes you a bit to get your exposure right, people get stiff if they stay posed for too long.

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